Siberian Express Dreams

Russia, Siberia, Mongolia and China, late December, 2014. Part 6: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real. With eight nights and seven days on board, we had to eat. Eating aboard the trains wasn’t our first concern. Dining cars are generally available (more on this later) but many of the passengers, especially the Russians and younger Europeans…

Siberian Express Dreams

Late December, 2014. Thoughts while rolling eastward through the vast boreal forest of Russia and Siberia, an epilogue. Something there is with trees when they grow old. They want to lie down. If they’ve escaped disease, fire, the woodsman’s saw or the bad luck to take root in a future construction site, they age in place and finally die. And lie down. Here at home in Nevada’s Spring Mountain Range drought and bark beetles take down the stately Ponderosa pines of 80 foot height and 200 years or…

Siberian Express Dreams

Siberia, Russia and beyond, late December, 2014. Part 5: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real. We were on board for many things, but principally we were there for the ride. We were there for the ride. Our travel across Russia and Mongolia to Beijing, China took 10 days, departing on the night of December 20th and…

Siberian Express Dreams

Siberia, Russia, late December, 2014. Part 4: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real. I didn’t know how much we would depend on our provinistas. Before we could board the train in Moscow, we stood in line as the “provinista”, usually a woman on the Russian and Mongolian trains, men on the Chinese one, collected and verified…

Siberian Express Dreams

Russia, east of the Urals onward, December, 2014. Part 3: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real . . . but what would Siberian Express dreams life aboard be like? There are frequently three different classes of cars on the train. There’s little difference between the first and second class cabins except there are two beds in…

Siberian Dreams.

Moscow, Russia, December 20, 2014. Part 1: I’ve had Siberian Express dreams for years, taking a train across the vast stretch of Siberia, leaving Moscow headed constantly on, day and night, to distant places in Asia. December 2014 was our opportunity to make dreams real. It started near midnight in Moscow. Our taxi arrived at Moscow’s Yaroslavsky Station at 11:10 on the night of December 20th. Plenty of time to make the 11:45 departure for our first stop–Irkutsk, Siberia 4 nights, 3 days, and 3300 miles away. We…

14 Hours in Irkutsk

14 hours in Irkutsk, Siberia, in the winter. What to do?  Plenty—if you have the good luck to find two very kind and generous people. When I mentioned I was taking trains across Siberia in December my friend Tom said, “Oh, you have to stop in Irkutsk and meet my friend Lucy!” So, here we are in Irkutsk, right on schedule getting off the train exactly at 7:28 on a cold and very dark Siberian morning. As we walked up the stairs from the underground passage connecting the…

Christmas, travel, Christmas travel, Vienna, Mexico

December 24, 2014 Author’s note: I revised this slightly from last year after reading it on Christmas Eve, 2014, thinking of Christmases past, and present, while waiting for a train in Irkutsk, Russia to Ulan Bator, soon to be plunging forward into the darkness of a Siberian night aboard an east-bound train rolling towards Mongolia. “It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is…